Saskatoon

Wet'suwet'en solidarity protesters take down camp near Saskatoon rail track

A Wet'suwet'en solidarity protest camp next to a rail track in Saskatoon has been dismantled by the demonstrators because of a shortage of supplies.

Four-day protest ended over dwindling food supplies

A few people huddle around what remains of a fire pit at the former site of an Indigenous protest camp in Saskatoon that was taken down by the protesters Tuesday morning. (Olivier Ferapie/Radio-Canada)

Wet'suwet'en solidarity protesters have taken down their camp next to a Canadian Pacific Railway track in Saskatoon.

The protest camp had been in place near Avenue J and 21st Street West since Saturday.

It was established in solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs who are opposed to the construction of a natural gas pipeline in their traditional territory in northern B.C.

Protester Jessica McNab said that at its height the camp had between 20 and 30 protesters. It was dismantled Tuesday morning because of dwindling food supplies.

"We didn't want to keep relying on the people to start bringing their own things, because we felt that we should be the ones to bring things to them since they were the ones coming," she said.

Despite the decision to take down the camp, she said a few protesters chose to linger at the site.

"The past few days were amazing. I'm glad a lot of people were here. And now that it's gone ... I don't know, it kind of hurts," she said Tuesday morning.

"But we're still here. The people are still here. We're not going to tell them to leave."

McNab said she hopes much has been accomplished.

"I know we got a lot of support from a lot of people, a lot of different nations and a lot of different organizations," she said.

"So I'm just glad that people are now aware and people are starting to be more aware of what's going on with the Wet'suwet'en."

McNab said it was "awesome" to see other Indigenous protests start up across the country in response to an Ontario Provincial Police raid on a Mohawk rail blockade near Belleville, Ont., on Monday. OPP officers were enforcing a court injunction and made several arrests.

The Saskatoon protesters chose not to block the nearby tracks during their four-day demonstration.

"We didn't want to get arrested or in trouble like other protests have. We didn't want to be taken down," McNab said.

"We wanted to keep going as long as possible. And I guess four days was the limit."

Meanwhile, another organizer, Erica Violet Lee, said there will be other protests in the city and throughout the Prairies.

"There are other groups and organizers planning actions right now," she said. "I'm not sure about any of their plans, but definitely more people are willing to come out and support Wet'suwet'en."

Erica Violet Lee was one of the organizers of the 'Wet’suwet’en To Treaty Six Solidarity' protest camp in Saskatoon's Pleasant Hill neighbourhood. (Olivier Ferapie/Radio-Canada)

As for the Saskatoon demonstration, Lee said it was a "really successful action."

"We did what we set out to do, which is slow the trains down through inner-city Saskatoon."

She also said CP police were peaceful to the protesters because they recognized the youth-driven demonstration was prioritizing safety.

CP police were still monitoring the area Tuesday morning.

About the Author

Kelly Provost is a newsreader and reporter with CBC News in Saskatoon. Email him at kelly.provost@cbc.ca.

With files from Gregory Wilson